Bad renting experience 
leads to new home purchase

By Jeffrey Fazio
Home & Real Estate Columnist

Just over a year ago I was living quite unpleasantly in an apartment complex in the city of Reading. It wasnít a particularly cold winter, but it was uncomfortably cold in my apartment. The management and maintenance staff were always quick to point out that the temperature in my apartment (at least the center of the apartment) was never below the minimum allowed by the city.

As I struggled with the "powers that be" at the apartment complex to turn the heat up to a comfortable level and alleviate my minimum experience, I resolved to buy my own home. In hindsight, if I would have been able to enjoy a comfortable apartment to live in, I would not have been so motivated to buy my own home. Itís entirely possible that I would still be forking over a large portion of my take-home pay to landlordís coffers. I almost want to thank the landlord for managing the complex the way he did as it truly inspired me to get the heck out.

As the saying goes, "Every dark cloud has a silver lining." My silver lining came in the form of a Realtor recommendation. A friend of mine referred me to Jean Snyder who is a Realtor at Berkshire Network GMAC in Wyomissing. I canít say enough good things about Jean, but Iím going to try my best.

As a first-time home buyer I had piles of questions and was in desperate need of education on the matters relating to purchasing a home. To say that Jean was patient would be an understatement. She was careful to explain everything about the process to me, often several times, since I needed it.

One of the best things about working with Jean was her sense of humor. Some of the properties we looked at were just awful or completely wrong for me and she always found a way to make light of it. Sheís the type of person that you can easily build a good rapport with and joke with as if you have known each other for years.

More than anything, I sincerely appreciate the dedication she had with showing me properties. Realistically I was shopping with a rather low budget and Iím sure she could have earned more money for her time selling to folks with deeper pockets than mine, but she still offered me awesome service.

She showed me homes all over the county. She showed me homes listed as "fixer uppers" or "handyman specials" knowing full well I would never buy one of those, but I wanted to see them anyway to learn and she gladly showed me. At one point I called Jean, said I wasnít happy with what we were finding within my budget in Berks County, and expressed that I was interested in looking at properties in southern Schuylkill County.

At that point she could have easily pawned me and my low budget off on some unknown Schuylkill County Realtor and went fishing for bigger game. That just isnít her style. Instead, she attacked the listings again and started showing me the possibilities in the area I was interested in. We ended up making at least two treks up to Schuylkill County and that is where I eventually purchased a home. Her hard work paid off.

Even months after the sale Iíd call Jean with questions and concerns and she never even changed her number. Simply put, Jean Snyder is just a darn good person and Iím glad I met her. After my last rental experience, it was truly a pleasure dealing with someone that was genuinely interested in offering more than the minimum of service.